The impact of biomass fuel emissions on women's health in rural Punjab (Pakistan)

Authors: Nabeela Farah*,
Topics: Hazards and Vulnerability
Keywords: biomass, fuel, cooking, smoke, health outcomes
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/7/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM
Room: Council Room, Omni, West
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Indoor air pollution levels due to the burning of biomass fuel in developing countries are well established. In rural Punjab, biomass fuel is used as a primary source for cooking and heating.Biomass burning contains hundreds of compounds that have serious impact on women’s health.This study estimated the health effects of exposure to smoke from burning of agricultural waste, dung cakes and wood used in three districts of Punjab (Pakistan).Data collected from 480 women was analyzed by using ordinal and multivariate logistic regression models and presented in the form of mediation, moderation and interaction effects. Interactions of fuel, stove and kitchen use were conducted to evaluate the health effects. The results show the odds of having more frequent headaches increased (OR =3.62, p=.001) when dung cake was used in conjunction with blocked kitchen. Similarly, the odds of having more frequent chest pain increased (OR =8.05, p=.026) when wood was used in mid-brick stove. The interaction between dung cake and time spent in the kitchen was significant. It results in higher odds of having more frequent cardiac disease by a factor of 5, when dung cake was used for 7-9 hours in the kitchen.Likewise, incomplete combustion caused by insufficient amount of air accounts for association between wood use and coughing.Findings show the relationship between income and breathing problem was partially mediating by the use of agricultural waste and the odds of more frequent breathing problems in the low income group were more than double (OR=2.32, p=.002) that of the high income group.

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